Nassau’s Democratic Committee this week launched the first of what it says will be numerous advertisements targeting Democratic county executive candidate George Maragos, who assails party leaders frequently.
The committee — whose executive leaders are backing county Legis. Laura Curran for county executive — paid to sponsor one of its Facebook posts that criticizes Maragos for contributions he gave last year to local Republicans, shortly before he left the GOP.
Using a screenshot of a state Board of Elections campaign finance report, the post notes that Maragos, the county comptroller, gave $700 to the Nassau Republican Committee in the spring, months before he announced his switch to the Democratic Party.
It also mentions that Maragos voted in the state’s GOP presidential primary last April.
“Don’t be fooled,” the post concludes. “Maragos is a Tea Party Republican.”
Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said Wednesday that he did not know the cost of the sponsored post, but said more ads, likely in other media, would follow.
“We’re going to inform Democratic voters about exactly who George Maragos is and what he stands for,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs noted that Maragos acknowledged last week at a public forum that he did not vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in last year’s general election.
Responding to a question at the forum in Mineola, Maragos had said he also didn’t support Republican President Donald Trump.
“I did not contribute to Trump, I gave $5,400 to Hillary,” Maragos said, noting contributions he and his wife made to Clinton’s campaign last fall. “I actually, honestly, did not vote on the presidential line. I voted on the other lines.”
Jacobs stood with Maragos in September as the comptroller announced his party switch and run for county executive.
At the time, Maragos’ early 2016 contributions to Nassau Republicans were already public. He also had made public statements during a 2012 run as a Republican for U.S. Senate, in which he staked out conservative positions on issues such as abortion, climate change and same-sex marriage.
Maragos has said his views have “evolved” over time, and are now aligned with those of Democrats.
But Jacobs questioned the comptroller’s sincerity in an open letter earlier this week. Jacobs said the extreme nature of his previously stated conservative views was a significant reason he decided not to endorse Maragos for county executive.
“George did not ‘evolve,’ ” Jacobs wrote. “He has morphed opportunistically into what he needed to become to seek our nomination.”
Since Jacobs backed Curran, Maragos has positioned himself as an anti-establishment candidate and relentlessly attacked Jacobs on social media as an old style “political boss” who is trying to influence the outcome of what should be an open primary.
Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist working on Maragos’ campaign, responded to Jacobs Wednesday: “Boss Jacobs’ hand-picked candidate is obviously in trouble. That’s why the boss is smearing independent Democrat Maragos.”